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'Thank them for their service': Condolences pour in after fatal shooting of 2 Edmonton police officers

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Messages of support have been coming in from across Alberta and the country after the fatal shooting of two Edmonton police officers on Thursday.

Edmonton Police Service Chief Dale McFee announced at a press conference on Thursday morning that Const. Travis Jordan and Const. Brett Ryan were shot by a male when they responded to a domestic dispute call early Thursday morning.

McFee said the male shooter is also dead, after what investigators believe was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A female of unknown age was also taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

PRESS CONFERENCE AND POLICE REACTION

Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services Mike Ellis and Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi also spoke at Thursday's press conference.

"As a former police officer myself, this hits very close to home. To all my brothers and sisters out there, my heart is with you," Ellis told reporters.

"What’s important now is that we provide our support to the family and friends and colleagues of those officers."

"On behalf of city council, city administration, and all Edmontonians, I extend my deepest condolences to the family members of these members, and all of the Edmonton Police Service," Sohi said.

"We hold you in our hearts as you mourn this profound loss, and we mourn it with you."

Officials held a press conference on March 16, 2023 after the fatal shooting of two Edmonton police officers. (Dave Mitchell/CTV News Edmonton)

Sohi also urged Edmontonians to thank their EPS officers.

"When you see an officer working to keep you safe, and our community safe, please thank them for their service."

Police handed out memorial ribbons at the media event on Thursday, and flowers have been placed outside the main EPS station in downtown Edmonton.

A police memorial ribbon handed out on March 16, 2023 after the shooting death of two Edmonton police officers.

Flags at police stations in the city have been lowered to half-mast, and a sign on the door of west division station, where the two officers were based, notes the station is closed for the day and will reopen March 17.

"This morning, these officers made the ultimate sacrifice while selflessly serving all of us who call Edmonton home. And the families, friends, and colleagues whose shoulders our service members stand on each day have now also made that ultimate sacrifice," Erick Ambtman, chair of the Edmonton Police Commission, said in a written statement.

"We are extremely saddened by the news of these two young lives being cut short. Constables Jordan and Ryan will be forever remembered for their courage, bravery, compassion, and service while working to keep Edmonton’s streets safe."

FAMILY AND FRIENDS

In a Facebook post Thursday, Const. Ryan's mother, Laurie Ryan, thanked everyone that came to her son's aid Thursday.

"Today we lost our youngest son in the line of duty with EPS. No words can begin to explain how deep our sorrow and pain is today," she said in the post. "He served his community with pride and commitment. He loved his wife and unborn baby, his brothers and us, his parents."

 A long-time friend, Darcy Carter, remembers Const. Ryan as a person with a passion for helping others.

"[He was] just a stand up guy, would give the shirt off his back to anybody," Carter said. "And definitely a quick wit and a little bit of a jokester when we refereed hockey games together." 

"Saying goodbye to you today was one of the hardest moments of my life Brett," wrote another friend, Miles Valiquette, in a Facebook post. "I am sorry you had to give the ultimate sacrifice, but thank you so much for your service and thank you so much for being an integral part of my life and who I am today. "

Const. Jordan was remembered by his sister, who said her brother had always dreamed of being a police officer who "spent hours arresting Bert and [Ernie} as a child."

"My brother, my ONLY brother, my hero. I don’t know how we go on from here but we will never stop sharing the memories and we will never let any one forget the hero that you are," Sheena LJ said in a Thursday Facebook post. "Swing some golf balls Trav, give BJ a big hug. We love you more than you’ll ever, ever know."

The bodies of the two officers were escorted by fire, EMS, and police vehicles to the medical examiner's office on Thursday morning.

Officers lined the street to see their fallen comrades arrive.

The bodies of two Edmonton police officers fatally shot while on duty on March 16, 2023 arrive at the medical examiner's office.

Edmonton Police Service officers wait outside the medical examiner's office on March 16, 2023 for the bodies of two officer who were shot on duty.

McFee thanked his emergency response colleagues for the escort in his remarks to the media.

"I want to thank all of our partners who reached out so quickly with fire, EMS, and our own members to provide that escort to their final place," he said, his voice shaking. 

CONDOLENCES POUR IN

The prime minister and premier have also responded.

"Every day, police officers put themselves in harm’s way to keep people safe. The news that two @EdmontonPolice officers have been killed in the line of duty reminds us of that reality. I’m sending my condolences to the officers’ loved ones and colleagues – we’re here for you," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote in a tweet.

"Today, the province mourns the loss of two police officers killed in the line of duty. On behalf of the Government of Alberta, we extend our deepest sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of Const. Travis Jordan and Const. Brett Ryan," Premier Danielle Smith said in a joint written statement with minister Ellis.

“Every day, police officers across Alberta put on their uniforms to step up to protect and serve our communities. The sudden and tragic deaths of these two Edmonton Police Service officers remind us again of the dangers police officers constantly face to ensure the safety of Albertans."

Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley issued a statement.

"We are shocked and saddened to hear of the horrific shootings that took place this morning," she wrote in a tweet.

"As we await information, our thoughts are with all who have been touched by this awful tragedy, including the families, loved ones and colleagues of two fallen Edmonton police officers."

Flags at Edmonton City Hall at half-mast after the death of two Edmonton Police Service officers on March 16, 2023. (John Hanson/CTV News Edmonton)

Jay Woodcroft, head coach of the Edmonton Oilers commented on the death of the officers while addressing the media on Thursday afternoon.

"I just want to acknowledge our two fallen police officers, obviously Const. Jordan, Const. Ryan, their families are in the hearts and minds of everyone involved with the Edmonton Oilers organization," Woodcroft said. "Very tough, tough morning for our group, tough morning for the City of Edmonton."

A tweet by the Oilers said the officers would be honoured at Thursday night's game.

The wife of the last EPS officer to be killed on duty also commented on the deaths.

Const. Daniel Woodall was fatally shot on June 8, 2015, and a second officer was injured as police attempted to arrest a suspect.

Const. Daniel Woodall is seen in this undated photo provided by Edmonton Police Service.

"I'm heartbroken to hear the news of two officers sadly taken today in the line of duty," Claire Woodall wrote in a statement on social media. "It has understandably brought back painful memories. I'm saddened to think these same feelings will be shared by the fallen officers' families again today. Thoughts and prayers go out to all involved, and of course our extended EPS family."

She signed the statement "The Woodall family - Claire Gabe, and Callen."

This is a developing story; more information will be posted throughout the day. 

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